Trenton, New Jersey

Trenton, New Jersey
City of Trenton
Downtown on the Delaware River
Flag of Trenton, New Jersey
Capital City
Turning Point of the Revolution.
"Trenton Makes, The World Takes" [1]
Location within Mercer County Interactive map of Trenton, New Jersey
Location within Mercer County
Interactive map of Trenton, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Trenton, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is located in Mercer County, New Jersey
Location in Mercer County
Show map of Mercer County, New Jersey
Trenton is located in New Jersey
Location in New Jersey
Show map of New Jersey
Trenton is located in the United States
Location in the United States
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Coordinates: 40°13′26″N 74°45′49″W / 40.223841°N 74.763624°W / 40.223841; -74.763624Coordinates: 40°13′26″N 74°45′49″W / 40.223841°N 74.763624°W / 40.223841; -74.763624[2][3]
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Mercer
Founded June 3, 1719
Incorporated November 13, 1792
Named for William Trent
 • Type Faulkner Act
 • Body City Council
 • Mayor Reed Gusciora (term ends June 30, 2022)[4][5]
 • Administrator Adam E. Cruz[6]
 • Municipal clerk Dwayne M. Harris[7]
 • Total 8.21 sq mi (21.25 km2)
 • Land 7.58 sq mi (19.63 km2)
 • Water 0.63 sq mi (1.62 km2)  7.62%
Area rank 229th of 565 in state
9th of 12 in county[2]
49 ft (15 m)
 • Total 84,913
 • Estimate 
(2019) [13]
 • Rank 413th in country (as of 2019)[14]
10th of 565 in state
2nd of 12 in county[15]
 • Density 11,101.9/sq mi (4,286.5/km2)
 • Density rank 26th of 565 in state
1st of 12 in county[15]
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Codes
08608-08611, 08618-08620, 08625, 08628, 08629, 08638 [16] [17]
Area code 609[18]
FIPS code 3402174000[2][19][20]
GNIS feature ID 0885421[2][21]

Trenton is the capital city of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County.[22] It briefly served as the capital of the United States in 1784.[23] The city's metropolitan area, consisting of Mercer County, is grouped with the New York Combined Statistical Area by the United States Census Bureau,[24] but it directly borders the Philadelphia metropolitan area and was from 1990 until 2000 part of the Philadelphia Combined Statistical Area.[25] As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913,[10][11][12] making it the state's 10th-largest municipality after having been the state's ninth-largest municipality in 2000.[26] The population declined by 490 (-0.6%) from the 85,403 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 3,272 (-3.7%) from the 88,675 counted in the 1990 Census.[27] The Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated that the city's population was 83,203 in 2019,[13] ranking the city the 413th-most-populous in the country.[14]

Trenton dates back at least to June 3, 1719, when mention was made of a constable being appointed for Trenton while the area was still part of Hunterdon County. Boundaries were recorded for Trenton Township as of March 2, 1720.[28] A courthouse and jail were constructed in Trenton around 1720, and the Freeholders of Hunterdon County met annually in Trenton.[29] Trenton became New Jersey's capital as of November 25, 1790, and the City of Trenton was formed within Trenton Township on November 13, 1792. Trenton Township was incorporated as one of New Jersey's initial group of 104 townships by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798. On February 22, 1834, portions of Trenton Township were taken to form Ewing Township. The remaining portion of Trenton Township was absorbed by the City of Trenton on April 10, 1837. A series of annexations took place over a 50-year period, with the city absorbing South Trenton borough (April 14, 1851), portions of Nottingham Township (April 14, 1856), both the Borough of Chambersburg Township, and Millham Township (both on March 30, 1888), as well as Wilbur Borough (February 28, 1898). Portions of Ewing Township and Hamilton Township were annexed to Trenton on March 23, 1900.[28][30]


The Old Barracks in Trenton, New Jersey

The earliest known inhabitants of the area that is today Trenton were the Lenape Native Americans.[31] The first European settlement in what would become Trenton was established by Quakers in 1679, in the region then called the Falls of the Delaware, led by Mahlon Stacy from Handsworth, Sheffield, England. Quakers were being persecuted in England at this time and North America provided an opportunity to exercise their religious freedom.[32]

By 1719, the town adopted the name "Trent-towne", after William Trent, one of its leading landholders who purchased much of the surrounding land from Stacy's family. This name later was shortened to "Trenton".[33][34][35]

During the American Revolutionary War, the city was the site of the Battle of Trenton, George Washington's first military victory. On December 25–26, 1776, Washington and his army, after crossing the icy Delaware River to Trenton, defeated the Hessian troops garrisoned there.[36] The second battle of Trenton, Battle of the Assunpink Creek, was fought here on January 2, 1777.[37] After the war, the Congress of the Confederation met for two months at the French Arms Tavern from November 1, 1784, to December 24, 1784.[23] While the city was preferred by New England and other northern states as a permanent capital for the new country, the southern states ultimately prevailed in their choice of a location south of the Mason–Dixon line.[38] On April 21, 1789, the city hosted a reception for George Washington on his journey to New York City for his first inauguration.[39]

Trenton became the state capital in 1790, but prior to that year the New Jersey Legislature often met in the city.[40] The city was incorporated in 1792.[28]

During the War of 1812, the United States Army's primary hospital was at a site on Broad Street.[41]

Throughout the 19th century, Trenton grew steadily, as European immigrants came to work in its pottery and wire rope mills. In 1837, with the population now too large for government by council, a new mayoral government was adopted, with by-laws that remain in operation to this day.[42]

The Trenton Six were a group of black men arrested for the alleged murder of an elderly white shopkeeper in January 1948 with a soda bottle. They were arrested without warrants, denied lawyers and sentenced to death based on what were described as coerced confessions. With the involvement of the Communist Party and the NAACP, there were several appeals, resulting in a total of four trials. Eventually the accused men (with the exception of one who died in prison) were released. The incident was the subject of the book Jersey Justice: The Story of the Trenton Six, written by Cathy Knepper.[43][44]

Riots of 1968

The Trenton Riots of 1968 were a major civil disturbance that took place during the week following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis on April 4. Race riots broke out nationwide following the murder of the civil rights activist. More than 200 Trenton businesses, mostly in Downtown, were ransacked and burned. More than 300 people, most of them young black men, were arrested on charges ranging from assault and arson to looting and violating the mayor's emergency curfew. In addition to 16 injured policemen, 15 firefighters were treated at city hospitals for smoke inhalation, burns, sprains and cuts suffered while fighting raging blazes or for injuries inflicted by rioters. Citizens of Trenton's urban core often pulled false alarms and would then throw bricks at firefighters responding to the alarm boxes. This experience, along with similar experiences in other major cities, effectively ended the use of open-cab fire engines. As an interim measure, the Trenton Fire Department fabricated temporary cab enclosures from steel deck plating until new equipment could be obtained. The losses incurred by downtown businesses were initially estimated by the city to be $7 million, but the total of insurance claims and settlements came to $2.5 million.[45]

Trenton's Battle Monument neighborhood was hardest hit. Since the 1950s, North Trenton had witnessed a steady exodus of middle-class residents, and the riots spelled the end for North Trenton. By the 1970s, the region had become one of the most blighted and crime-ridden in the city.[46]


The "Falls of the Delaware" at Trenton

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 8.21 square miles (21.25 km2), including 7.58 square miles (19.63 km2) of land and 0.63 square miles (1.62 km2) of water (7.62%).[2][3]

Several bridges across the Delaware River connect Trenton to Morrisville, Pennsylvania, all of which are operated by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.[47] The Trenton–Morrisville Toll Bridge, originally constructed in 1952, stretches 1,324 feet (404 m), carrying U.S. Route 1.[48] The Lower Trenton Bridge, bearing the legend "Trenton Makes The World Takes Bridge", is a 1,022-foot (312 m) span that was constructed in 1928 on the site of a bridge that dates back to 1804.[49] The Calhoun Street Bridge, dating back to 1884, is 1,274 feet (388 m) long.[50]

Trenton is located near the geographic center of the state, which is located 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of the city.[51][52] The city is sometimes included as part of North Jersey and as the southernmost city of the Tri-State Region, while others consider it a part of South Jersey and thus, the northernmost city of the Delaware Valley.[53]

However, Mercer County constitutes its own metropolitan statistical area, formally known as the Trenton-Princeton MSA.[54] Locals consider Trenton to be a part of an ambiguous area known as Central Jersey, and thus part of neither region. They are generally split as to whether they are within New York or Philadelphia's sphere of influence. While it is geographically closer to Philadelphia, many people who have recently moved to the area commute to New York City, and have moved there to escape the New York region's high housing costs.

Trenton is one of two state capitals that border another state – the other being Carson City, Nevada.[55] It is also one of the seven state capitals located within the Piedmont Plateau.

Trenton borders Ewing Township, Hamilton Township and Lawrence Township in Mercer County; and Falls Township, Lower Makefield Township and Morrisville in Bucks County, Pennsylvania across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania.[56][57][58]

The Northeast Corridor goes through Trenton. A straight line drawn between Center City, Philadelphia and Downtown Manhattan would pass within 2000 feet of the New Jersey State House.

Panoramic views


The city of Trenton is home to numerous neighborhoods and sub-neighborhoods. The main neighborhoods are taken from the four cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West). Trenton was once home to large Italian, Hungarian, and Jewish communities, but, since the 1950s, demographic shifts have changed the city into a relatively segregated urban enclave of middle and lower income African Americans. Italians are scattered throughout the city, but a distinct Italian community is centered in the Chambersburg neighborhood, in South Trenton.[59] This community has been in decline since the 1970s, largely due to economic and social shifts to the suburbs surrounding the city. Today Chambersburg has a large Latino community. Many of the Latino immigrants are from Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua. There is also a significant and growing Asian community in the Chambersburg neighborhood primarily made up of Burmese and Bhutanese/Nepali refugees.

The North Ward, once a mecca for the city's middle class, is now one of the most economically distressed, torn apart by race riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Nonetheless, the area still retains many important architectural and historic sites. North Trenton still has a large Polish-American neighborhood that borders Lawrence Township, many of whom attend St. Hedwig's Roman Catholic Church on Brunswick Avenue. St. Hedwig's church was built in 1904 by Polish immigrants, many of whose families still attend the church. North Trenton is also home to the historic Shiloh Baptist Church—one of the largest houses of worship in Trenton and the oldest African American church in the city, founded in 1888.[60] The church is currently pastored by Rev. Darrell L. Armstrong, who carried the Olympic torch in 2002 for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Also located just at the southern tip of North Trenton is the city's Battle Monument, also known as "Five Points". It is a 150 ft (46 m) structure that marks the spot where George Washington's Continental Army launched the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolutionary War. It faces downtown Trenton and is a symbol of the city's historic past.[61]

South Ward is a diverse neighborhood, home to many Latin American, Italian-American, and African American residents.[62]

East Ward is the smallest neighborhood in Trenton and is home to the Trenton Transit Center and Trenton Central High School. The Chambersburg neighborhood is within the East Ward and was once noted in the region as a destination for its many Italian restaurants and pizzerias. With changing demographics, many of these businesses have either closed or relocated to suburban locations.

West Ward is the home of Trenton's more suburban neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods in the city include:[63]


According to the Köppen climate classification, Trenton lies in the transition from a humid subtropical (Cfa) to a cooler humid continental climate (Dfa), favoring the former, with four seasons of approximately equal length and precipitation fairly evenly distributed through the year. The Cfa climate is the result of adiabatic warming of the Appalachians, low altitude and proximity to the coast without being on the immediate edge for moderate temperatures.[64]

Winters are cold and damp: the daily average temperature in January is 32.0 °F (0.0 °C),[65] and temperatures at or below 10 °F (−12 °C) occur on 3.9 nights annually, while there are 16–17 days where the temperature fails to rise above freezing. Episodes of extreme cold and wind can occur with wind chill values below 0 °F (−18 °C). The plant hardiness zone at the Trenton Municipal Court is 7a with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of 1.2 °F (−17.1 °C).[66]

Summers are hot and humid, with a July daily average of 76.0 °F (24.4 °C); temperatures reaching or exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) occur on 15–16 days. episodes of extreme heat and humidity can occur with heat index values reaching 100 °F (38 °C). Extremes in air temperature have ranged from −14 °F (−26 °C) on February 9, 1934, up to 106 °F (41 °C) as recently as July 22, 2011.[67] However, air temperatures reaching 0 °F (−18 °C) or 100 °F (38 °C) are uncommon.

The average precipitation is 48.34 inches (123 cm) per year, which is fairly evenly distributed through the year. The driest month on average is February, with 2.81 in (71 mm) of precipitation on average, while the wettest month is July with 5.32 in (14 cm) of rainfall on average which corresponds with the annual peak in thunderstorm activity. The all-time single-day rainfall record is 7.25 in (18.4 cm) on September 16, 1999, during the passage of Hurricane Floyd. The all-time monthly rainfall record is 14.55 in (37.0 cm) in August 1955, due to the passage of Hurricane Connie and Hurricane Diane. The wettest year on record was 1996, when 67.90 in (172 cm) of precipitation fell. On the flip side, the driest month on record was October 1963, when only 0.05 in (0.1 cm) of rain was recorded. The 28.79 in (73 cm) of precipitation recorded in 1957 were the lowest ever for the city.[68]

Snowfall can vary even more year to year. The average seasonal (November–April) snowfall total is 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm), but has ranged from as low as 2 in (5.1 cm) in the winter of 1918–19 to as high as 76.5 in (194.3 cm) in 1995–96, which included the greatest single-storm snowfall, the Blizzard of January 7–8, 1996, when 24.2 inches (61.5 cm) of snow fell.[69] The average snowiest month is February which corresponds with the annual peak in nor'easter activity.


According to the A. W. Kuchler U.S. potential natural vegetation types, Trenton, New Jersey would have an Appalachian Oak (104) vegetation type with an Eastern Hardwood Forest (25) vegetation form.[70]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 1,946
1810 3,000
1820 3,942 31.4%
1830 3,925 −0.4%
1840 4,035 * 2.8%
1850 6,461 60.1%
1860 17,228 * 166.6%
1870 22,874 32.8%
1880 29,910 30.8%
1890 57,458 * 92.1%
1900 73,307 27.6%
1910 96,815 32.1%
1920 119,289 23.2%
1930 123,356 3.4%
1940 124,697 1.1%
1950 128,009 2.7%
1960 114,167 −10.8%
1970 104,638 −8.3%
1980 92,124 −12.0%
1990 88,675 −3.7%
2000 85,403 −3.7%
2010 84,913 −0.6%
2019 (est.) 83,203 [13][71][72] −2.0%
Population sources: 1790–1920[73]
1840[74] 1850–1870[75] 1850[76]
1870[77] 1880–1890[78] 1910–1930[79]
1930–1990[80] 2000[81][82] 2010[10][11][12][83]
* = Territory change in previous decade.[28]

2010 Census

The 2010 United States Census counted 84,913 people, 28,578 households, and 17,747 families in the city. The population density was 11,101.9 per square mile (4,286.5/km2). There were 33,035 housing units at an average density of 4,319.2 per square mile (1,667.7/km2). The racial makeup was 26.56% (22,549) White, 52.01% (44,160) Black or African American, 0.70% (598) Native American, 1.19% (1,013) Asian, 0.13% (110) Pacific Islander, 15.31% (13,003) from other races, and 4.10% (3,480) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.71% (28,621) of the population.[10]

Of the 28,578 households, 32.0% had children under the age of 18; 25.1% were married couples living together; 28.1% had a female householder with no husband present and 37.9% were non-families. Of all households, 30.8% were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.40.[10]

25.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.6 years. For every 100 females, the population had 106.5 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 107.2 males.[10]

2006-2010 survey

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $36,601 (with a margin of error of +/- $1,485) and the median family income was $41,491 (+/- $2,778). Males had a median income of $29,884 (+/- $1,715) versus $31,319 (+/- $2,398) for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,400 (+/- $571). About 22.4% of families and 24.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.3% of those under age 18 and 17.5% of those age 65 or over.[84]

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States Census[19] there were 85,403, people, 29,437 households, and 18,692 families residing in the city. The population density was 11,153.6 inhabitants per square mile (4,306.4/km2). There were 33,843 housing units at an average density of 4,419.9/sq mi (1,706.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 52.06% Black, 32.55% White, 0.35% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 10.76% from other races, and 3.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.53% of the population.[81][82] There were 29,437 households, 32.4% of which had children under the age of 18 living with them. 29.0% were married couples living together, 27.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.38.[81][82]

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 27.7% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.[81][82]

The median income for a household in the city was $31,074, and the median income for a family was $36,681. Males had a median income of $29,721 versus $26,943 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,621. About 17.6% of families and 21.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.8% of those under age 18 and 19.5% of those age 65 or over.[81][82]

Top 10 ethnicities reported during the 2000 Census by percentage were:[81][82]

  1. African American (50.1)
  2. Puerto Rican (14.5)
  3. Italian (4.6)
  4. Irish (3.5)
  5. Polish (3.0)
  6. Guatemalan (2.8)
  7. English (1.9)
  8. Jamaican (1.5)
  9. Hungarian (1.0)
  10. Mexican (1.0)


The Lower Trenton Bridge is commonly referred to among locals as the "Trenton Makes Bridge"

Trenton was a major manufacturing center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One relic of that era is the slogan "Trenton Makes, The World Takes", which is displayed on the Lower Free Bridge (just north of the Trenton–Morrisville Toll Bridge).[85] The city adopted the slogan in 1917 to represent Trenton's then-leading role as a major manufacturing center for rubber, wire rope, ceramics and cigars. It was home to American Standards largest fixture factory.[86]

Along with many other United States cities in the 1970s, Trenton fell on hard times when manufacturing and industrial jobs declined. Concurrently, state government agencies began leasing office space in the surrounding suburbs. State government leaders (particularly governors William Cahill and Brendan Byrne) attempted to revitalize the downtown area by making it the center of state government. Between 1982 and 1992, more than a dozen office buildings were constructed primarily by the state to house state offices.[87] Today, Trenton's biggest employer is still the state of New Jersey. Each weekday, 20,000 state workers flood into the city from the surrounding suburbs.[88]

Notable businesses of the thousands based in Trenton include Italian Peoples Bakery, a wholesale and retail bakery established in 1936.[89] De Lorenzo's Tomato Pies and Papa's Tomato Pies were also fixtures of the city for many years, though both recently relocated to the suburbs.

Urban Enterprise Zone

Portions of Trenton are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. The city was selected in 1983 as one of the initial group of 10 zones chosen to participate in the program.[90] In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the ​6 58% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants.[91] Established in January 1986, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in December 2023.[92]

The UEZ program in Trenton and four other original UEZ cities had been allowed to lapse as of January 1, 2017, after Governor Chris Christie, who called the program an "abject failure", vetoed a compromise bill that would have extended the status for two years.[93] In May 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that reinstated the program in these five cities and extended the expiration date in other zones.[94]

In 2018, the city had an average property tax bill of $3,274, the lowest in the county, compared to an average bill of $8,292 in Mercer County and $8,767 statewide.[95][96]

Television market

Trenton has long been part of the Philadelphia television market. However, following the 2000 United States Census, Trenton was shifted from the Philadelphia metropolitan statistical area to the New York metropolitan statistical area. With a similar shift by the New Haven, Connecticut, area to the New York area, they were the first two cases where metropolitan statistical areas differed from their defined Nielsen television markets.[97] Also, Trenton was the site of the studios of the former public television station New Jersey Network (aka NJN).


  • New Jersey State Museum – Combines a collection of archaeology and ethnography, fine art, cultural history and natural history.[98]
  • New Jersey State House was originally constructed by Jonathan Doane in 1792, with major additions made in 1845, 1865 and 1871.[99]
  • New Jersey State Library serves as a central resource for libraries across the state as well as serving the state legislature and government.[100]
  • Trenton City Museum – Housed in the Italianate-style 1848 Ellarslie Mansion since 1978, the museum features artworks and other materials related to the city's history.[101]
  • Trenton War Memorial – Completed in 1932 as a memorial to the war dead from Mercer County during World War I and owned and operated by the State of New Jersey, the building is home to a theater with 1,800 seats that reopened in 1999 after an extensive, five-year-long renovation project.[102]
  • Old Barracks – Dating back to 1758 and the French and Indian War, the Barracks were constructed as a place to house British troops in lieu of housing the soldiers in the homes of area residents. The site was used by both the Continental Army and British forces during the Revolutionary War and stands as the last remaining colonial barracks in the state.[103]
  • Trenton Battle Monument – Located in the heart of the Five Points neighborhood, the monument was built to commemorate the Continental Army's victory in the December 26, 1776, Battle of Trenton.[61] The monument was designed by John H. Duncan and features a statue of George Washington atop a pedestal that stands on a granite column 148 feet (45 m) in height.[104]
  • Trenton City Hall – The building was constructed based on a 1907 design by architect Spencer Roberts and opened to the public in 1910. The council chambers stand two stories high and features a mural by Everett Shinn that highlights Trenton's industrial history.[105]
  • William Trent House – Constructed in 1719 by William Trent, who the following year laid out what would become the city of Trenton, the house was owned by Governor Lewis Morris, who used the house as his official residence in the 1740s. Governor Philemon Dickerson used the home as his official residence in the 1830s, as did Rodman M. Price in the 1850s.[106]


Club League Venue MLB affiliate Established Championships
Trenton Thunder MLB Draft League Arm & Hammer Park None 1994 3
The Trenton City Museum, located at the Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park

Because of Trenton's near-equal distance to both New York City and Philadelphia, and because most homes in Mercer County receive network broadcasts from both cities, locals are sharply divided in fan loyalty between both cities. It is common to find Philadelphia's Phillies, Eagles, 76ers, Union and Flyers fans cheering (and arguing) right alongside fans of New York's Yankees, Mets, Nets, Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Jets, Red Bulls and Giants or the New Jersey Devils.[107]

Between 1948 and 1979, Trenton Speedway, located in adjacent Hamilton Township, hosted world class auto racing. Drivers such as Jim Clark, A. J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, Richard Petty and Bobby Allison raced on the one-mile (1.6 km) asphalt oval and then re-configured ​1  12-mile race track.[108] The speedway, which closed in 1980, was part of the larger New Jersey State Fairgrounds complex, which also closed in 1983. The former site of the speedway and fairgrounds is now the Grounds for Sculpture.[109]

The Trenton Thunder, minor league team owned by Joe Plumeri, plays at 6,341-seat Arm & Hammer Park, the stadium which Plumeri had previously named after his father in 1999.[110][111][112] The team was previously affiliated with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox, but became an unaffiliated collegiate summer baseball team of the MLB Draft League beginning in 2021.[113]

The Trenton Freedom of the Professional Indoor Football League were founded in 2013 and played their games at the Sun National Bank Center. The Freedom ended operations in 2015, joining the short-lived Trenton Steel (in 2011) and Trenton Lightning (in 2001) as indoor football teams that had brief operating lives at the arena.[114]

Parks and recreation

Historic sites

  • Adams and Sickles Building (added January 31, 1980 as #80002498) is a focal point for West End neighborhood, and is remembered for its soda fountain and corner druggist.[116]
  • Friends Burying Ground, adjacent to the Trenton Friends Meeting House, is the burial site of several national and state political figures prominent in the city's early history.[117]
  • Trenton Friends Meeting House (added April 30, 2008 as #08000362), dating back to 1739, it was occupied by the British Dragoons in 1776 and by the Continental Army later in the Revolutionary War.[118]


Trenton City Hall, seat of local government

Local government

The City of Trenton is governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Mayor-Council system of municipal government, one of 71 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use this form of government.[119] The governing body is comprised of a mayor and a seven-member city council. Three city council members are elected at-large, and four come from each of four wards. The mayor and council members are elected concurrently on a non-partisan basis to four-year terms of office as part of the May municipal election.[8][120]

As of 2020, the mayor of Trenton is Reed Gusciora, who had previously served in the New Jersey General Assembly before taking office as mayor.[121] Members of the city council are Council President Kathy McBride (At-Large), Jerell A. Blakeley (At-Large), Marge Caldwell-Wilson (North Ward), Joseph A. Harrison (East Ward), George P. Muschal (South Ward), Santiago Rodriquez (At-Large) and Robin M. Vaughn (West Ward), all serving terms of office ending June 30, 2022.[4][122][123][124][125]

From February 7 to July 1, 2014, the acting mayor was George Muschal who retroactively assumed the office on that date due to the felony conviction of Tony F. Mack, who had taken office on July 1, 2010.[126] Muschal, who was council president, was selected by the city council to serve as the interim mayor to finish the term.[127]

On February 7, 2014, Mack and his brother, Raphiel Mack, were convicted by a federal jury of bribery, fraud and extortion, based on the details of their participation in a scheme to take money in exchange for helping get approvals to develop a downtown parking garage as part of a sting operation by law enforcement.[128] Days after the conviction, the office of the New Jersey Attorney General filed motions to have Mack removed from office, as state law requires the removal of elected officials after convictions for corruption.[129] Initially, Mack fought the removal of him from the office but on February 26, a superior court judge ordered his removal and any actions taken by Mack between February 7 and the 26th could have been reversed by Muschal.[127] Previously, Mack's housing director quit after it was learned he had a theft conviction. His chief of staff was arrested trying to buy heroin. His half-brother, whose authority he elevated at the city water plant, was arrested on charges of stealing. His law director resigned after arguing with Mack over complying with open-records laws and potential violations of laws prohibiting city contracts to big campaign donors.[130]

Federal, state and county representation

The New Jersey State House in Trenton

Trenton is located in the 12th Congressional District[131] and is part of New Jersey's 15th state legislative district.[11][132][133] Prior to the 2010 Census, Trenton had been split between the 4th Congressional District and the 12th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.[134]

For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's Twelfth Congressional District is represented by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, Ewing Township).[135][136] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021)[137] and Bob Menendez (Paramus, term ends 2025).[138][139]

For the 2020–2021 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 15th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Shirley Turner (D, Lawrence Township, Mercer County) and in the General Assembly by Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D, Trenton) and Anthony Verrelli (D, Hopewell Township, Mercer County, New Jersey).[140][141]

Mercer County is governed by a County Executive who oversees the day-to-day operations of the county and by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders that acts in a legislative capacity, setting policy. All officials are chosen at-large in partisan elections, with the executive serving a four-year term of office while the freeholders serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for election each year.[142] As of 2014, the County Executive is Brian M. Hughes (D, term ends December 31, 2015; Princeton).[143] Mercer County's Freeholders are Freeholder Chair Andrew Koontz (D, 2016; Princeton),[144] Freeholder Vice Chair Samuel T. Frisby, Sr. (2015; Trenton),[145] Ann M. Cannon (2015; East Windsor Township),[146] Anthony P. Carabelli (2016; Trenton),[147] John A. Cimino (2014, Hamilton Township),[148] Pasquale "Pat" Colavita, Jr. (2015; Lawrence Township)[149] and Lucylle R. S. Walter (2014; Ewing Township)[150][151][152] Mercer County's constitutional officers are County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello (D, 2015),[153] Sheriff John A. Kemler (D, 2014)[154] and Surrogate Diane Gerofsky (D, 2016).[155][156]


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 37,407 registered voters in Trenton, of which 16,819 (45.0%) were registered as Democrats, 1,328 (3.6%) were registered as Republicans and 19,248 (51.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 12 voters registered to other parties.[157]

Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016[158] 7.7% 1,715 90.6% 20,131 1.7% 379
2012[159] 6.2% 1,528 93.4% 23,125 0.4% 97
2008[160] 8.2% 2,157 89.9% 23,577 0.5% 141
2004[161] 16.3% 3,791 79.8% 18,539 0.4% 146

In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 93.4% of the vote (23,125 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 6.2% (1,528 votes), and other candidates with 0.4% (97 votes), among the 27,831 ballots cast by the city's 40,362 registered voters (3,081 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 69.0%.[159][162] In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 89.9% of the vote here (23,577 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 8.2% (2,157 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (141 votes), among the 26,229 ballots cast by the city's 41,005 registered voters, for a turnout of 64.0%.[160] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 79.8% of the vote here (18,539 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 16.3% (3,791 votes) and other candidates with 0.4% (146 votes), among the 23,228 ballots cast by the city's 39,139 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 59.3.[161]

Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2017[163] 8.6% 872 89.8% 9,128 1.7% 169
2013[164] 24.7% 3,035 74.7% 9,179 0.7% 77
2009[165] 12.4% 1,560 81.6% 10,235 3.5% 440
2005[166] 15.3% 1,982 81.0% 10,484 3.6% 471

In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 74.7% of the vote (9,179 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 24.7% (3,035 votes), and other candidates with 0.6% (77 votes), among the 11,884 ballots cast by the city's 38,452 registered voters (407 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 30.9%.[164][167] In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 81.6% of the vote here (10,235 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 12.4% (1,560 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 2.4% (305 votes) and other candidates with 1.1% (135 votes), among the 12,537 ballots cast by the city's 38,345 registered voters, yielding a 32.7% turnout.[165]

Fire department

The city of Trenton is protected on a full-time basis by the city of Trenton Fire and Emergency Services Department (TFD), which has been a paid department since 1892 after having been originally established in 1747 as a volunteer fire department.[168] The TFD operates out of seven fire stations and operates a fire apparatus fleet of 7 engine companies, 3 ladder companies and one rescue company, along with one HAZMAT unit, an air cascade unit, a mobile command unit, a foam unit, one fireboat, and numerous special, support and reserve units, under the command of a Battalion Chief each shift.[169][170]

Fire station locations and apparatus
Engine company Ladder company Special unit Address
Engine 1 Ladder 1 (tiller) Marine 1 (fire boat) 460 Calhoun Street
Engine 3 (squirt) Ladder 2 (tiller) 720 S. Broad Street
Engine 6 561 N. Clinton Avenue
Engine 7 502 Hamilton Avenue
Engine 8 Battalion Chief 1 698 Stuyvesant Avenue
Engine 9 Foam Unit 1 1464 W. State Street
Engine 10 Tower Ladder 4 Rescue 1, Haz-Mat 1, Mobile Command Unit, Air Cascade Unit 244 Perry Street


Colleges and universities

Trenton is the home of two post-secondary institutions: Thomas Edison State University, serving adult students around the nation and worldwide[171] and Mercer County Community College's James Kerney Campus.[172]

The College of New Jersey, formerly named Trenton State College, was founded in Trenton in 1855 and is now located in nearby Ewing Township. Rider University was founded in Trenton in 1865 as The Trenton Business College. In 1959, Rider moved to its current location in nearby Lawrence Township.[173]

Public schools

The Trenton Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.[174] The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide,[175] which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.[176][177] The district's board of education, with seven members, sets policy and oversees the fiscal and educational operation of the district through its superintendent administration. As a Type I school district, the board's trustees are appointed by the mayor to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for re-appointment each year.[178][179] The school district has undergone a 'construction' renaissance throughout the district.

As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of 20 schools, had an enrollment of 14,500 students and 884.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 16.4:1.[180] Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[181]) are Columbus Elementary School[182] (371 students; in grades K-5), Franklin Elementary School[183] (405; K-5), Grant Elementary School[184] (571; PreK-5), Gregory Elementary School[185] (567; K-5), Harrison Elementary School[186] (221; PreK-5), P.J. Hill Elementary School[187] (800; PreK-5), Jefferson Elementary School[188] (434; K-5), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School[189] (775; K-5), Mott Elementary School[190] (426; K-5), Parker Elementary School[191] (531; K-5), Robbins Elementary School[192] (541; K-5), Washington Elementary School[193] (409; K-5), Wilson Elementary School[194] (498; PreK-5), Grace A. Dunn Middle School[195] (893; 6–8), Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School[196] (674; 6–8), Joyce Kilmer Middle School[197] (370; 6–8), Luis Munoz Rivera Middle School[198] (483; 6–8), Trenton Ninth Grade Academy[199] (707; 9), Daylight/Twilight Alternative High School[200] (443; 9–12) and Trenton Central High School[201] (1,818; 9–12).[202][203][204]

Eighth grade students from all of Mercer County are eligible to apply to attend the high school programs offered by the Mercer County Technical Schools, a county-wide vocational school district that offers full-time career and technical education at its Health Sciences Academy, STEM Academy and Academy of Culinary Arts, with no tuition charged to students for attendance.[205][206]

Charter schools

Trenton is home to several charter schools, including Capital Preparatory Charter High School, Emily Fisher Charter School, Foundation Academy Charter School, International Charter School, Paul Robeson Charter School and Village Charter School.[207]

The International Academy of Trenton, owned and monitored by the SABIS school network, became a charter school in 2014. On February 22, 2017, Trenton's mayor, Eric Jackson, visited the school when it opened its doors in the former Trenton Times building on 500 Perry Street, after completion of a $17 million renovation project. After receiving notice from the New Jersey Department of Education that the school's charter would not be renewed due to issues with academic performance and school management, the school closed its doors on June 30, 2018.[208]

Private schools

Trenton Catholic Academy high school serves students in grades 9–12, while Trenton Catholic Academy grammar school serves students in Pre-K through 8th grade; both schools operate under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton.[209]

Trenton is home to Al-Bayaan Academy, which opened for preschool students in September 2001 and added grades in subsequent years.[210]

Trenton Community Music School is a not-for-profit community school of the arts. The school was founded by executive director Marcia Wood in 1997. The school operates at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church (on Tuesdays) and the Copeland Center for the Performing Arts (on Saturdays).


In 2005, there were 31 homicides in Trenton, which at that time was the largest number in a single year in the city's history.[211] The city was named the 4th "Most Dangerous" in 2005 out of 129 cities with a population of 75,000 to 99,999 ranked nationwide in the 12th annual Morgan Quitno survey.[212] In the 2006 survey, Trenton was ranked as the 14th most dangerous city overall out of 371 cities included nationwide in the Morgan Quitno survey, and was again named as the fourth most dangerous municipality of 126 cities in the 75,000–99,999 population range.[213] Homicides went down in 2006 to 20, but back up to 25 in 2007.[214] In 2018 the city had 21 murders,[215] the same as in 2017, when the city accounted for 21 of the 25 homicides in all of Mercer County.[216]

In September 2011, the city laid off 108 police officers due to budget cuts; this constituted almost one-third of the Trenton Police Department and required 30 senior officers to be sent out on patrols in lieu of supervisory duties.[217]

In 2013, the city set a new record with 37 homicides.[218] In 2014, there were 23 murders through the end of July and the city's homicide rate was on track to break the record set the previous year until an 81-day period when there were no murders in Trenton; the city ended the year with 34 murders.[219][220] The number of homicides declined to 17 in 2015.[221]

New Jersey State Prison

The New Jersey State Prison (formerly Trenton State Prison) has two maximum security units. It houses some of the state's most dangerous individuals, which included New Jersey's death row population until the state banned capital punishment in 2007.[222]

The following is inscribed over the original entrance to the prison:

Labor, Silence, Penitence.
The Penitentiary House,
Erected By Legislative
Richard Howell, Governor.
In The XXII Year Of
American Independence
That Those Who Are Feared
For Their Crimes
May Learn To Fear The Laws
And Be Useful
Hic Labor, Hic Opus.[223]


Roads and highways

U.S. Route 1 through downtown Trenton, looking north from the East State Street overpass

As of May 2010, the city had a total of 168.80 miles (271.66 km) of roadways, of which 145.57 miles (234.27 km) were maintained by the municipality, 11.33 miles (18.23 km) by Mercer County, 10.92 miles (17.57 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 0.98 miles (1.58 km) by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.[224]

City highways include the Trenton Freeway (part of U.S. Route 1)[225] and the John Fitch Parkway, which is part of Route 29.[226] Canal Boulevard, more commonly known as Route 129, connects US 1 and Route 29 in South Trenton.[227] U.S. Route 206,[228] Route 31[229] and Route 33[230] also pass through the city via regular city streets (Broad Street/Brunswick Avenue/Princeton Avenue, Pennington Avenue, and Greenwood Avenue, respectively).

Route 29 connects the city to Interstate 295 and Interstate 195, the latter providing a connection to the New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95) at Exit 7A in Robbinsville Township.

Public transportation

The Trenton Transit Center, which serves Amtrak, NJ Transit, and SEPTA

Public transportation within the city and to/from its nearby suburbs is provided in the form of local bus routes run by NJ Transit. SEPTA also provides bus service to adjacent Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The Trenton Transit Center, located on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor, serves as the northbound terminus for SEPTA's Trenton Line (local train service to Philadelphia) and southbound terminus for NJ Transit Rail's Northeast Corridor Line (local train service to New York Penn Station). The train station also serves as the northbound terminus for the River Line, a diesel light rail line that runs to Camden.[231] Two additional River Line stops, Cass Street and Hamilton Avenue, are located within the city.[232]

Long-distance transportation is provided by Amtrak train service along the Northeast Corridor.[233]

The closest commercial airport is Trenton–Mercer Airport in Ewing Township, about 8 miles (13 km) from the center of Trenton, which has been served by Frontier Airlines offering service to and from 13 points nationwide.[234]

Other nearby major airports are Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, located 55.2 miles (88.8 km) and 43.4 miles (69.8 km) away, respectively, and reachable by direct New Jersey Transit or Amtrak rail link (to Newark) and by SEPTA Regional Rail (to Philadelphia).

NJ Transit Bus Operations provides bus service between Trenton and Philadelphia on the 409 route, with service to surrounding communities on the 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 606, 607, 608, 609 and 611 routes.[235][236]

The Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association offers service on the Route 130 Connection between the Trenton Transit Center and the South Brunswick warehouse district with stops along the route including Hamilton train station, Hamilton Marketplace, Hightstown and East Windsor Town Center Plaza.[237]


Trenton is served by two daily newspapers: The Times and The Trentonian, as well as a monthly advertising magazine: "The City" Trenton N.E.W.S.. Radio station WKXW is also licensed to Trenton. Defunct periodicals include the Trenton True American. A local television station, WPHY-CD TV-25, serves the Trenton area.[238]

Trenton is officially part of the Philadelphia television market but some local pay TV operators also carry stations serving the New York market. While it is its own radio market, many Philadelphia and New York stations are easily receivable.

Notable people

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Trenton include:


Actors and actresses


Authors, writers, journalists, poets

Colonial figures

Government, education and politics






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